Consumer Tech

By Beth Blecherman | #Tech updates and #trends from #CES and what's new in Consumer Electronics

Aluminum foil can actually improve your wireless signal

If you've ever thought of resorting to aluminum foil to redirect your home's poor WiFi signal, it turns out you're not actually that far off the mark. <i>EurekAlert</i> reported today that researchers at Dartmouth College have discovered that 3D printed signal reflectors, consisting of a thin layer of …

Wi-Fi

Want Lane Assist and Other Fancy Tech in Your Old Car? There’s an App for That…

Want all the latest tech features without buying a new car? You can have them, and it’s easier and more affordable than you think.<p>If you’ve always wanted built-in Bluetooth or safety features like lane assist and low-tire warnings, you don’t need to wait until it’s time to trade in your ride. With …

Gear & Gadgets

PowerWatch, the body heat-powered smartwatch, starts shipping

As far as gimmicks go, PowerWatch’s is pretty good. It was good enough, in fact, to raise 939 percent of its goal on Indiegogo earlier this year. After generations of wearables with 24-hour battery lives, the promise of never having to charge your smartwatch again falls firmly into the realm of too …

Wearable Tech

8 Fitness Watches to Elevate Your Workout Goals

You’ve probably heard there’s strength in numbers. Well, we’re making a case for keeping those numbers right on your wrist. These top eight fitness …

Wearable Tech

Amazon is bringing Audible support to its cheapest Kindle

You’ll need bluetooth speakers or headphones to listen<p>Amazon’s new Kindle Oasis has some cool new features. It’s waterproof, but it also supports Audible, if you have have a set of bluetooth headphones or speakers handy. According to a listing on Amazon, it looks as though that functionality is …

Amazon

OmniHub tries to fix the MacBook Pro’s port shortage with magnets and modules

Earlier this month, my five-year-old MacBook Pro finally gave up the ghost. After traveling the world and surviving several CESes, it was time to finally lay the thing to rest. I had some misgivings about replacing the old workhorse with one of the new models, not the least of which was the …

MacBook Pro

How to Master iOS 11's New Control Center

Yes, the new Control Center in iOS 11 looks different, but now you can customize it.<p>PCMag reviews products independently, but we may earn affiliate …

iOS

This little machine can clean your clothes with 10 liters of water and no power

Update: The Drumi is finally in production as of late September, but without an exact ship date. Yirego, the company behind the electricity-free …

Design

August’s third-generation smart lock is uncomplicated and cheap

Much like Nest did a few weeks ago with its Thermostat E, August has begun offering a cheaper version of its flagship product with a fresh design. August’s new third-generation Smart Lock has moved away from the circular design that it was known for (which can still be found on the Smart Lock Pro) …

Home Automation

This Robot Tractor Is Ready to Disrupt Construction

Zipping around like a bumblebee, the little black-and-yellow tractor claws its bucket into one of San Francisco’s few vacant lots, kicking up a puff …

Robots

The Apple Watch 3 is awesome

Ten days in with the new Apple Watch 3, and I'm amazed by how quickly it integrated into daily life.<p>Earlier this month, I made the leap to the dark …

Smartwatches

What phone should I buy if I’m on a budget?

Wirecutter Editor in Chief Jacqui Cheng offers budget recommendations for phones, computers and more on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask.<p>In the era of $1000 smartphones, it may seem like the newest, best stuff is only available to big spenders. But with a little research, it’s possible to find …

Gear & Gadgets

Grovemade: Introducing the Desk Shelf System for your workspace

The awesome folks from Grovemade have recently introduced what they called: Desk Shelf System to enhance your workspace to the very next level. Most …

Furniture

Microwaves will be obsolete by 2027. Here’s what’s going to replace them

Imagine an appliance that lets you throw veal, zucchini, and tomatoes on one pan and have them all come out perfectly cooked. When Miele introduced …

Cooking

This hack connects you to the Internet via a virtual modem

Legend tells of a programmer named Martin Kirkholt Melhus who worked at a client site where there was no Internet. Realizing most of his work involved cutting and pasting from StackOverflow, he needed a way to get online. And so he turned his speaker and microphone into a working (in theory) modem. …

Stack Overflow

Because someone had to make the first Cortana smart speaker

People often stop after Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant when rattling off the list of smart assistants. Cortana really gets no love at all, outside of stories about Windows 10. The oversight can be chalked up, at least in part, to the fact that AI has been mostly desktop-bound. It’s true that …

Automation

Saber is a rugged portable battery that can fully charge a laptop twice

It’s the first consumer product from Romeo Power<p>A relatively new commercial battery company with expats from Tesla, SpaceX, Amazon, and Faraday Future wants to put an end to searching for wall outlets with a new power brick called Saber. Saber is a 2.2-pound portable lithium-ion battery with 86 …

Batteries

Kitchen of the Future: Smart and Fast but Not Much Fun

SEATTLE — Wandering among the engineers and strategy directors and managers of something called “connected customer experience” at the Smart Kitchen Summit, one had to wonder: Do any of these people actually cook?<p>The conference, now in its third year, brings together people on the front lines of …

Celebrity Chefs

How to understand the new iOS 11 Notification Center

One of the larger changes in iOS 11 is the Notification Center, which has been overhauled yet again on Apple's new mobile operating system into a somewhat confusing design.<p>Apple is taking a different — we'll charitably call it "unique" — approach to notifications in iOS 11. Under Apple's logic, …

iOS

Forget the iPhone 8 and iPhone X — here are 7 reasons you should buy the iPhone 7 instead

There are a ton of great phones you can buy this year. But if you're intent on buying an iPhone in 2017, don't bother with the new iPhone 8 or the high-end iPhone X coming in November.<p>I've owned an iPhone 7 Plus for over a year, and I've had a chance to try the new iPhone 8 and the 8 Plus as well.<p>I …

Phones

Sony and reMarkable’s dueling e-paper tablets are strange but impressive beasts

Poor paper. It’s in that ironic category where those who love it the most are the ones trying their hardest to replace it.<p>Case in point: Sony and reMarkable, a pair of companies as unalike as you’re likely to find, yet with the shared mission of making a device that adequately serves the same …

Tablets

In defense of the Amazon Fire Phone

The Fire Phone is widely regarded as one of Amazon’s biggest misfires — and rightfully so. After debuting in the top spot of the company’s retail charts, things quickly spun out of control.<p>In all, the phone reportedly sold, at most, 35,000 units in its first 20 days — even more upsettingly for …

Amazon

Comparing Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana and Siri smart speakers

The smart home assistant race has been building to a fever pitch over the course of the last couple of years. Things really came to head this past two weeks, when Amazon, Google and Sonos all held big events highlighting their latest smart speaker plays, making the already busy field a heck of a …

Mobile

Five advanced Chromecast hacks to level up your streaming experience

Get more from your television.<p>Google first introduced its cheap, capable Chromecast streaming device in 2013, followed by the more powerful (and expensive) Chromecast Ultra, which can handle 4K resolution and HDR effects, last year. Both versions look streamlined, take up little room, and offer …

Google

EFF criticizes iOS 11's 'misleading' Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles for being a privacy and security risk

The strange, unintuitive way Bluetooth and Wi-Fi toggles work in iOS 11 has drawn ire from many quarters. The latest voice is that of digital rights …

Wi-Fi

Amazon’s new iPhone dongle is now cheaper than Belkin’s

Charge your phone and listen to music at the same time for $30, instead of $35<p>With Google’s recent decision to remove the 3.5mm jack on its Pixel 2 devices, we’re going to have to all come to terms with the fact that most phones in the future will not have a standard headphone port. That means …

Gear & Gadgets

The 20 best Apple TV apps for your living room

Buying an Apple TV has been one of my best home purchase decisions. It gives you access to an impressive amount of TV shows, movies, and videos, …

Smart TV

LunaR is a solar-powered smartwatch with plenty of features and an elegant design

Smartwatches nowadays can do all kinds of neat things. In fact, they are becoming more independent than ever, some even featuring wireless data connectivity, killing the need for a companion smartphone. But there is one thing manufacturers haven’t handled well – battery life and charging.<p><b>Other</b> …

Neat

The AirPods rival that blows everyone away only costs $40 on Amazon

There are precious few products we’ve covered that have yielded as much positive feedback as the SmartOmi Q5 True Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. Of …

Headphones